Top Free Live Stream Software for Promoting Your Brand during Lockdown

Live streaming is definitely not something new. It’s been around since the early 90s in one form or another. But what really makes it relevant today has a lot to do with the mobile revolution and the rise of social networks.

Live streaming is a great way to expand the audience reach and attract digital viewers from around the world.

And due to the current pandemic and lock-down situation, live streaming is the ideal way to keep your audience engaged and promote your brand.

Now, the question is what are the principal differences between the options, and how to decide which streaming software is best for you? We will try to help answer those questions.

So here is, In no particular order, the best streaming software to promote your brand in this lock-down:

  • Belive
  • OBS Studio
  • YouNow
  • Periscope
  • Native Social Live: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube & LinkedIn

1. Be.Live

Be.Live is an app to produce live-stream content for Facebook Live and YouTube Live. Add your logo and overlaps during your show. Show viewers’ live comments on the screen. Invite up to 10 guests with your permanent link and show up to four people on screen. Define when your stream can go live and reschedule any time. 

auction Mashrafee
Auction on Facebook Live through Be.Live

Price: Free for three shows per month. Paid plans start at $24.99 per month.

2. OBS Studio

Open Broadcaster Software (more commonly known as OBS) Studio is a powerful open-source project that is built by a community. Open-source software like OBS Studio is free to use, making it a popular choice for price-conscious live streamers. OBS Studio offers all the live streaming essentials you need to create a great looking broadcast but lacks the advanced features of professional paid software.

Open Broadcaster Software

Being an open source project, however, OBS Studio is a highly customizable. New features and plugins are being released by the developer community all the time. This means that if you are willing to tinker with it, there is an impressive amount of functionality you can get out of OBS.

This however also means there is no centralized user support team to help you out if you’re having trouble. You need to be self-reliant and figure things out for yourself. This usually isn’t an issue for relatively tech-savvy users who are able to set-up and troubleshoot independently, but newer users might face difficulties. Lucky for beginners, there is a multitude of guides and tutorial videos on the web to help.

Price: Free.

Bottom line: Great for technical users in search of a free solution with no need for advanced features like virtual sets, multi-streaming, and guest hosting.

3. YouNow

YouNow is a live streaming service geared toward younger audiences. It started as the video version of Twitter where users interact with each other over live videos but has evolved into a broadcasting service that can also be used to live stream events.A “moment” from America’s Got Talent auditions on YouNow A “moment” from America’s Got Talent auditions on YouNow (Source)

What are the key features of the tool?

  • Broadcast an event from multiple vantage points by taking advantage of the multiple guest broadcasters feature.
  • Screen share when using the desktop version of the tool. However, that will require downloading the desktop app.
  • Interact with the audience through comments.
  • Allow viewers to share event broadcasts with their followers on the tool.
  • Use the tool’s hashtagging to popularize events. Hashtagging will automatically land your event in the feeds of the viewers following that hashtag.
  • Know how many viewers are watching the live stream.

What should you watch out for when using the tool?

  • All live streams are public by default.
  • The potential audience of your social media friends/followers is lost since the tool does not tap into that. Instead, it relies on hashtags or links to live stream.
  • live streams are saved to the profile only for three days. This limits the number of viewers who could watch it later.
  • Analytical insights about the audience are less detailed than in any other tool in the report.

 4. Periscope

Periscope is a live streaming app for iOS and Android smartphones that helps broadcast events to Twitter as well as the Periscope TV website. Periscope was acquired by Twitter before its launch in 2015 and has since been Twitter’s answer to Facebook Live and Instagram Live.Watching the replay of an event on the Periscope website Watching the replay of an event on the Periscope website (Source)

What are the key features of the tool?

  • Alert Periscope followers with an auto-generated notification whenever a broadcast starts.
  • Increase the virality of events by enabling viewers to share the live stream on Twitter and Periscope as well as share a link to the broadcast anywhere else.
  • Store event broadcasts for replay and let those appear on your Periscope and Twitter followers’ feeds.
  • Access broadcast stats such as live viewers, replay viewers, and time watched to better understand the audience.
  • Allow all viewers to comment on live streams or send likes, or limit this functionality to the people you follow.

What should you watch out for when using the tool?

  • By default, all live streams are public and viewable by anyone. To create a private broadcast for a select audience, you and the viewer need to be following each other on Twitter.
  • You can draw on and color the live feed in real time, just like on Facebook Live and Instagram Live. However, the graphic enhancement capabilities of Periscope are comparatively limited and only available on its iOS app.
  • Analytical insights about the audience are less detailed compared to similar tools such as Facebook Live or YouTube Live.

5. Native Social Live

Choosing the most adequate platform for your particular brand is an important step in any live streaming strategy. It’s something that you need to give serious thought, especially if you have a diversified social media strategy, fleshed out across multiple social media channels.

That leads us to the following point – where to stream?

At the moment, the major social media live streaming plays out at these three major networks:

  • YouTube Live
  • Facebook Live
  • Instagram Live

In the following sections, we’ll see what sets them apart – and is there one that’s superior?

Which Social Media Platform Should You Use for Live Streaming?

Before we dive into their differences, just remember that the answer to this question largely depends on your brand’s particular situation – the network that hosts your biggest audience will often be the best choice.

#Facebook

Facebook Live is growing more popular by the minute with an increasing number of marketers. Why?

First of all, there’s the thing we mentioned before – its algorithm is designed to love your streams and push them to the top of people’s feeds – and that’s not going to change as long as the war for the title of Live Streaming King is raging. Social media networks need their own social media strategies after all, and, as we mentioned, unlike us mere mortals they can use algorithms to promote their new services.

Second, your content is on autoplay. You have a brief window of time when your content starts playing in front of any random user who’s scrolling their homepage, and that’s a window of time to get them hooked.

facebook live stream

What can it do for your brand?

  • Facebook remains the platform that is set to dominate everything social – and with so much competition, brands that explore the most novel types of content do best here.
  • Live streaming on Facebook Live is the sure way to more organic reach and engagement.
  • Everybody’s audience is on Facebook.

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#YouTube

YouTube has made a name for itself through video, and when it comes to live, it’s guilty by association.  It’s the platform users spend most hours on watching the video – and watch the longest, so it makes perfect sense to choose it as a streaming platform.

youtube live stream

What can it do for your brand?

  • Youtube’s users visit the platform specifically to watch videos, so that means that you might get even more exposure
  • YouTube live streams can be easily repurposed as edited videos on your other social media channels
  • It gives you an archive of your live streams

As opposed to Twitter, for example, famous for being the go-to platform for news in real-time (which every good Twitter marketing strategy should reflect), YouTube is more like an archive, so that means your business is essentially getting 2-for-the-price-of-1: live functionality that appears archived in your playlists like a regular video, and might get even more exposure with time.

#Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a feature of Instagram Stories that can be used to broadcast events to a digital audience and engage with them in real-time. It is quite similar to Facebook Live in its functionalities and user experience. The catch is that Instagram Live allows users to go live only on the mobile version of the tool and not the desktop version. Starting a live stream on Instagram.

What are the key features of the tool?

  • Draw, color, tag people, and add location, emojis, gifs, and filters on the live feed in real time.
  • Select between private or public audiences. Whenever a live stream starts, push notifications alert the user’s followers.
  • Engage with the audience as they send likes and comments. A stream of comments is displayed on the bottom of the screen—pin select comments to the top of the comment stream or disable comments entirely.
  • Filter out comments containing offensive keywords, phrases, or emojis by choosing the “hide offensive comments” option before going live.
  • Save videos to Stories so that they can be revisited by viewers for up to 24 hours after a live stream. Saving videos to Highlights on the profile makes them available beyond 24 hours.
  • Go live with another user on Instagram by having them join your stream and request to go live with you. This yields a split-screen interaction that viewers can watch.

What should you watch out for when using the tool?

  • The tool is more accustomed to the portrait view (vertical view with an aspect ratio of 9:16) than the landscape view (horizontal view with an aspect ratio of 3:2).
  • All live videos have to be recorded on smartphones. They can’t be imported from other devices.
  • You can track metrics such as viewer count, likes, and comments during and after live streams. However, an Instagram Business account is needed for metrics such as accounts reached and impressions.

Types of Live Streaming Content

Hosting a Q&A

It’s 2020 already and by now, brands should understand that they need to listen to their customers – and what better way to do it than with a live Q&A session? It ticks off all the right boxes: it can get you more brand awareness, more exposure, it almost guarantees more engagement, and provides you with the opportunity to give your audience a more in-depth look at your brand.

We see influencers doing this all the time – they’d break up their schedule of pre-recorded videos and other types of content with a live session when they get more close and personal with their fans – answer more personal questions and fan requests and build their relationship with their followers.

And we think there’s no reason it shouldn’t work for brands.

How-to content and tutorials

“How to” live videos are a textbook example of how you can use the good old inbound marketing “trick” of actually providing value to your audience – and letting them come to you themselves. You can do this with pre-recorded video just as well, but live video gives you an advantage – it’s more personal, and your viewers can interact with you, ask you questions and engage on the spot!

Special occasion live streaming (+ product launches)

Live streaming is perfect if you want a breath of fresh air in your content marketing strategy, and a little pizzazz – and that’s why it should be arranged around important events in your calendar – such as important holidays (to your brand and marketing strategy specifically) or product launches. Live has the potential to create an atmosphere of exclusivity and build up anticipation, so it goes very well with new announcements – like the announcement of a new product or a giveaway.

Use live streaming to create a recurring show

This is a content strategy that works amazingly well for brands and influencers on YouTube and Twitch in particular – so well, in fact, that “streamer” has become a profession of its own.

While that might not work as the central theme for most brands, the idea has some merit. Think about how you can include recurring streams as part of your content marketing strategy!

Over and out!

We hope that we’ve given you plenty of info and helped you decide whether you want to jump into the live streaming craze.

Have you tried your hand at live streaming yourself? What social media network did you choose? Share your experience and results!

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